AMES, Iowa -- Many Cyclones football fans were excited to usher in a new era under their first year head coach 'It was the Iowa State vs UNI game," said Don Anderson from Iowa Falls. Students like Will Tangney, majoring in computer engineering, arrived early. "I have a thing I do with my friends. We usually sit in the front row of the student section." But, after the game Will and Don would become bonded by more than their love for the school colors. "I remember getting in the vehicle and driving under the overhang and got up to get in line to get onto the frontage road and that's the last thing I remember.'" Don was having a heart attack behind the wheel just north of Jack Trice Stadium and Will took notice. "I saw Don and he sounded like he was choking and it took me a moment to realize he wasn't breathing and began foaming at the mouth. " Will pulled Don from the moving vehicle. We began CPR on the ground right next to the car," said Will.
Will continued life saving CPR until Iowa State University Police arrived. Don said, "I was told it was seven or eight minutes and I got three electrical shocks." Doctors told Don, patients with arteries blocked as badly as his rarely survive. "One was 100%blocked, one was 90% blocked, so they put two stents in and I was good to go after that," said Don.
Thursday was the first meeting for the two since Will helped save Don's life. Strangers, who have become family. Will said, "I've never felt anything like it. It's just a strange feeling. It's like, wow, I really made a difference in that person's life."
The meeting was also important enough to set aside some of Don's fears. "This is the first time being back here. I had the chance to go to some games but wasn't ready and it was different driving by the spot."
While the Cyclones lost 25-20 to the University of Northern Iowa, because of Will's quick action and the help of the Iowa State University Police, Don's game day experience was a victory. "It's pretty meaningless to me how that turned out. Yeah, Will had a lot more to do with the great things that happened that day than anyone on the field."
Last Friday, December 9, Will was given a life saving award by the ISU Police alongside four other Iowa State University Police officers.